Famed for its rich culture, history, and wide range of unique experiences including onsen baths, tea ceremonies, and kimono rentals, this country offers endless activities for visitors to explore and enjoy.
If you’re about to put together your ideal itinerary so that you can make your Japan comeback, read on for this list of must-visit Japanese cities to pencil into your schedule.
Take a step back in time when you traverse the iconic streets of Kyoto. This city is home to a whopping 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and amongst these are ancient Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines, as well as a historic castle. It’s also the place to be if you’d like a chance to see Geishas and Maikos making their way from one appointment to another!
Besides that, don’t forget to set aside some time to explore the Higashiyama District, which sits on the lower slopes of Kyoto’s eastern mountains. Discovering this beautifully preserved neighbourhood is a whole experience in itself – rent a kimono for the day, make your way through the narrow cobblestoned lanes that are flanked by traditional wooden buildings, and pop in and out of the many traditional tea houses, restaurants, pottery shops, craft stores, and more, for a glimpse of old Japan.
Thinking of heading up north to see another side of this country? When you visit Hokkaido, plan to spend some time at Farm Tomita – it’s one of the city’s largest attractions that draws in over a million people annually. Although this farm is best known for its endless rows of lavender hedges, the three large lavender fields here are by no means the only highlight. Blooms of different kinds are found in their other fields, and these run the gamut from hyacinths to marigolds, poppies to tulips, and more – what you’ll see depends on the season that you’re visiting in, but no matter what, you’ll find endless multi-coloured carpets of vibrant flowers!
Nagoya’s not a city that most people have been to, but if you love all things cars, then spend some time here because this is the home of Toyota, Honda and Mitsubishi Motors. If not, plan to visit during the winter for the Nabana No Sato Winter Illuminations. This festival is where you’ll find 26,000 square metres of flower gardens, lit up with over 5.8 million LEDs, forming one of Japan’s largest outdoor lights show. The highlight of this festival is the 200m-long Tunnel Of Light, which features over 1.2 million flower-shaped light bulbs that are strung across the length of the tunnel. Tired of walking? Rejuvenate yourself at one of the open-air hot spring foot baths and spas!
If you’re looking for a charming city that offers a bit of everything, Osaka is the place to be. Here, there’s an interesting mix of history, culture, nightlife, fun, and food that’s waiting to be discovered. Feeling peckish? The city’s best known for its takoyaki (octopus balls) and okonomiyaki (savoury pancakes), so visit some of the markets and indulge in these local delights. For an afternoon of history, head to the centuries-old Osaka Castle, which is surrounded by citadels, gates, turrets, moats, and a large garden with hundreds of cherry blossom trees – plan a visit during spring for a visual feast of Japan’s most famous castle towering above a sea of pink!
Mention Japan, and most people instantly think of Tokyo. This is the place to be for endless shopping, gastronomic adventures, and the one-of-a-kind rush-hour travel experience on their metro trains. There are many world-famous sights in this sprawling metropolis that’s located on the east of Honshu Island: the bustling Shibuya crossing, the eye-catching Sensoji Temple, and of course, the iconic Tokyo Tower. This red and white tower may not be the city’s tallest, but its observation decks offer a bird’s eye view of the city, and on a clear day, you’ll even be able to see Mount Fuji, the country’s highest peak which sits around 100km to the southwest of the capital city.
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